British studio United Visual Artists has installed a set of gold-mirrored columns in a courtyard in Brooklyn, which spin around to reflect light patterns, visitors, and the surrounding brick walls.
Unveiled yesterday to coincide with this year’;s NYCxDesign festival, United Visual Artists (UVA)’;s Spirit of the City installation is set in creative venue A/D/O’;s open-air area.
Visitors are invited to walk between a series of 9-foot-high (2.74-metre) mirrored columns that rotate to offer changing reflections and refractions. Moving through the installation is intended to be both mesmerising and disorientating – an experience that UVA likens to exploring Manhattan’;s built environment of super-tall glass skyscrapers.
“We wanted to do an installation inspired by New York City,” UVA designer Maximo Recio told Dezeen.
“It’;s about the way that you navigate urban environments, and how in the city there is loads of information and you can feel overwhelmed in a way but also very empowered, familiar and included.”
“When you are walking around the installation there is a feeling of disorientation in a way,” he added.
But while the glass structures tower over streets and smaller industrial buildings, UVA’;s design is intended to invert this spacial relationship. The mirrored columns are enclosed by the brickwork walls of A/D/O’;s converted industrial building in the Greenpoint neighbourhood.
A number of other design details also take cues from the metropolis. Studio founder British artist Matt Clark told Dezeen that the golden mirrors were selected to reference the way that the setting sun glows between skyscrapers in the evening.
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The movement of the columns, which are elevated on a wooden platform, is also pre-programmed “to reflect the fluctuations of activity” in the city. In the morning, the structures spin in unison, but become more erratic at night, when they are also illuminated by sodium vapour lamps.
“Throughout the day there are always moments of order and of chaos, depending on moments of activity as it peaks throughout the day,” said Recio.
“In the morning there will be more moments of order than disorientation,” he continued. “Throughout the night, when it is more hectic in the city, the rotation of the columns will be slightly faster.”
UVA, which was founded by Clark in 2003, is an art-focused practice that delivers site-specific installations, sculptures, and performance pieces. Earlier this year, the studio created a prismatic light installation for Burberry catwalk show, while previous projects include the light performance at Sou Fujimoto’;s cloud-like Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in 2013.
Spirit of the City will be open to the public until 2 September 2018 at A/D/O, which is located inside an old warehouse that was transformed by New York studio nArchitects into a creative hub, restaurant and tech startup incubator – all backed by car brand MINI.
A/D/O unveiled the installation to coincide with the annual NYCxDesign festival, taking place across the city from 11 to 23 May 2018.
Images are courtesy of MINI.